L’ABATTOIR WAS ONE OF THE FIRST — AND FINEST — RESTAURANTS to sprout among the cobblestones of Vancouver’s historic but sketchy Gastown neighbourhood during its rapid gentrification more than a decade ago. The French-inspired charmer, set in a 19th-century brickand- beam building, has kept up with its increasingly posh neighbours through various innovations — a sophisticated happy hour with, for example, half-price veal sweetbreads on brioche; imaginative cocktails from head bartender Dave Bulters (the Kumquat Collins features an unlikely combination of its namesake fruit with Japanese whisky, rhubarb gin and rosehip soda); and a self-contained private dining facility across the alley, at No. 1 Gaoler’s Mews, home to exclusive fundraisers and private functions. (The BC Hospitality Foundation remains L’Abattoir’s preferred beneficiary of various charitable events.) Executive chef and owner Lee Cooper continues to seek out new ways to showcase seasonal West Coast ingredients. While some dishes have acquired mainstay status (baked Pacific oysters with black truffle; a singular iteration of steak Diane), his restless creativity has recently expressed itself in newer menu offerings, such as venison loin with a toastedbread- and-cocoa crust.
Always consistent, classic yet modern.”
Photography by: Eric Milic